Two phrases have been rolling around in my mind recently. “If you see something, say something,” and “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”
We are living in a moment of widespread complicity. Greed, money, and profit have trumped morality.
Reading the coverage of sexual predation by NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer has us asking once again: Where were all those people around him who should have blown the whistle? You’re telling me that NBC President Andy Lack and co-hosts Savanna Guthrie and Al Roker only heard of his heinous misdeeds on that fateful night last week when a brave underling spoke up?
Not bloody likely.
Shame on the whole bunch of them — men and women alike. Just like the female producer on the Charlie Rose Show who looked the other way when multiple women approached her about his unique strand of sexual harassment.
How are we going to prevent evil from flourishing when good men and good women look the other way?
These are just two examples of the many complicit colleagues who should be hanging their heads in shame after the recent lurid revelations.
We have a national crisis on numerous levels. Hollywood has been exposed as a large casting couch of rapacious directors, stars, and filmmakers (Weinstein, Spacey, and Toback were not alone).
The newsrooms and television sets of America, putatively the places that are supposed to expose malfeasance, are hothouses of harassment and cover-ups. Even the august New York Times, the bastion of progressive journalism, had its own bevy of zipper issues that spilled over into harassment.
Oh, and WNYC.
Those who didn’t try to stop it were complicit. Every single one of them. They deserve our opprobrium, too, in perpetuating this age-old problem.
And then, of course, is the macro problem: Our elected leaders are no better than the media moguls. The current occupant of the White House (you know who I’m talking about) was elected to the most powerful perch in the world one month after more than a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment.
Think about that. More than 60 million Americans voted for a man who admitted on tape that “grabbing women’s (private parts)” against their wishes is okay if you’re a celebrity like him. Yuck.
I would be remiss in mentioning that his opponent was guilty of attacking women who accused her own husband of similar behavior. Also not a great choice, but certainly better than a serial harasser in my book.
Even the patrician President George H.W. Bush seems to have had a habit of intentionally pinching woman’s backsides during photo shoots — another form of harassment.
Can’t anyone keep their hands to themselves and only touch others when they’ve been given verbal consent?
It makes me miss the relatively peaceful eight years of the Obama administration when our leader was an exemplary human being.
Remember: If you see something, say something.
Tom Allon is the president of City & State, NY. Questions or comments: tallo